A trend channel convergence watchers are eyeing is the move by cable companies into the business connectivity space.
This past year, Cox became the last of the country's top five cable providers to formally launch a channel program, in its case a referral program for solution providers and agents sending business customers its way.
In a September research note, Ovum pointed out what many in the telecom channel have known for some time: that the U.S. market's still-healthy appetite for enterprise telecom services -- combined with consolidation among providers -- is opening the door for smaller telecom and cable companies to better compete with the big wheels.
Among the success stories Ovum cited are CLECs such as tw telecom and Cbeyond, and cable companies such as Comcast and Cablevision.
Comcast, whose nearly two-year-old Comcast Business Class Partner Program has seen increasing investment by Comcast corporate, this year increased its channel-order volume by a magnitude of 15 times over the previous year, according to Craig Schlagbaum, vice president, indirect channel sales.
"There's been a continuing evolution here," said Schlagbaum, a longtime channel hand known for his years spent at Level 3, Qwest and IBM, among other vendors.
"Customers need solution providers to support their needs where they did not before. Without bandwidth, there is no cloud," he said. "So the customer sees connectivity as part of the solution, and expects [partners] to be able to offer everything." PUBLISHED DEC. 3, 2012